Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live By Jeff Jarvis (Simon & Schuster, 263 pp., $26.99) In 1975, Malcolm Bradbury published The History Man, a piercing satire of the narcissistic pseudo-intellectualism of modern academia. The novel recounts a year in the life of the young radical sociologist Howard Kirk—“a theoretician of sociability”—who is working on a book called The Defeat of Privacy.
The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-1945 By Ian Kershaw (Penguin, 564 pp., $35) It can be harder to lose a war than to win one. Nazi Germany won quick victories in 1939 and 1940 against its eastern and western neighbors, Poland and France. Many Germans who had doubted the wisdom of war came around with enthusiasm to the sound of German boots on the Champs Elysées. Warsaw and Paris fell more quickly and with fewer complications than anticipated. Their conquest convinced many Germans, including army officers, that further campaigns could be won by strokes of genius.
I have never before come upon a book at once as loving and as devastating as The Mirador by Élisabeth Gille, the daughter of Irène Némirovsky. Némirovsky, it will be remembered, is the popular French-Jewish society novelist of the interwar era who came to attention in the United States and elsewhere after the discovery of Suite Française, her unfinished epic about the war years in France.
Jerusalem—As the U.N. votes on Palestinian statehood, and former regional allies of the Jewish state like Turkey and Egypt turn openly hostile, much of the international community is blaming Israel for its own isolation. If only Israel had apologized to Turkey for killing nine of its nationals on last year’s Gaza flotilla, so the argument goes, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan would not be threatening now to send warships against the Israeli coast.
In his book The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw paid homage to the generation that emerged from the Great Depression to fight Hitler and other forms of tyranny. Their efforts were all about sacrifice so that their children could enjoy a better life.
Reason editor Matt Welch warns of a "success curse" in foreign policy: Today's Team Blue dethroning of a tinpot dictator lowers the bar for tomorrow's Team Red assault on Iran, which of course will be confirmation that when it comes to the Constitution, President Perry (should he wrest the nomination from the more deserving Texan) is worse than Nixon and Hitler combined. Team Blue will once again regain the White House on an "anti-dumb war" campaign; a scattering of Republicans will then exhume their deference to the War Powers Act, and the U.S.
Nazi monetary policy fan Matthew Yglesias reviews the exploits of Hjalmar Schacht: FDR’s first move was to devalue the dollar relative to gold. Hitler’s parallel move was devised by the very clever Hjalmar Schacht who (as you can read in his Nuremberg Trials indictment) essentially introduced a parallel currency called “Mefo bills” by setting up a government-backed shell company that issued scrip. FDR’s second move was to have people panic that Hitler was going to conquer them and shift their gold to the USA.
My evaluation of the debt ceiling deal is decidedly mixed, and many liberals are deeply unhappy. Dave Weigel wittily captures the spirit in his liberal denunciation mad lib: I am [outraged/fed up/fixin’ to vomit] at the news of this [sellout/betrayal/Chekovian drama of political adultery]. While I have yet to see all the details of this plan, it may be the worst piece of legislation since [the Kansas/Nebraska compromise/the Enabling Act/the one that renamed a rest stop in New Jersey after Howard Stern].
Last week, seven thousand delegates traveled to Chicago for the annual convention of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers' union. Most of the meeting was in keeping with the NEA’s reputation for dogmatic opposition to education reform. New Business Item #93 slammed Teach For America, which recruits graduates of top colleges to teach in high-poverty schools. Another resolution described 13 things the NEA hates about U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
[Guest post by Alex Klein] Everyone’s up in arms about John Binienda, the Massachusetts state representative who makes creative comparisons: namely, between forcing poor defenseless lobbyists to wear laminated badges and tattooing imprisoned Jews. "The idea of the badge by lobbyists to me, I kind of find that revolting. Hitler during the concentration camps tattooed all of the Jewish people so he would know who was Jew and who wasn't — and that's something that I just don't go along with." But why would he back down and apologize for such a flattering simile?